Due to active trade (Bremen was at that time the most important centre for cotton trade in europe and for tobacco trade in the world) and low wages the merchants of Bremen gained great profits that could not be invested easily. So mortgages were obtruded upon people who wanted to buy a house. This tendency was strenghtened by the fact that Bremen`s currency was based on gold and those in the other german states were based on silver. Because the price for prices for silver and gold changed all the time, investments made by inhabitants of Bremen in the rest of germany were risky. Because of the overflow of capital even workers with low income and without savings could afford to buy a house. But in most cases the house was no real possesion, because the wages were so low that only the interests could be paid, but no payments, so that the real owner was the creditor. The fact that nearly all parts of Bremen`s population owned a house, induced non-socialist social reformists and (in their beginnings) the social democrats to praise the "Bremer Haus" as alternative for the blocks of flats built in Berlin and other big cities. These blocks of flats were criticized because of their inhuman living conditions (up to five persons per room) from the very beginning on. The "Bremer Haus" was an alternative as long as really one family lived in it. But the development lead to Houses that were built for one and inhabitated by two or three families.
The reason was the fall of the custom-barriers between Bremen and the Deutsches Reich in 1888, that was necessary, because protection duty were installed for whole Germany. From that time on the area of the city of Bremen has been industrialized, too. As the need of real properties increased, the prices rose. At the same time it got more difficult to get mortgages, because many houses built before had proved unmarketable. By that development the purchase of houses got so expensive, that the buyers were forced to take in subtenants. So bigger houses were built, that were inhabited by two or three families, though they were planned for one single family. The reasn for that was, that the buyer hoped to be able to live alone with his family in the house after repaying the mortgage. It is obvious that the living conditions got worse than in blocks of flats, that were plannend for the use of more than one family. Another problem was that the houses became more narrow while the depth of the houses was increasing. So the garden of the newer houses became smaller quite rapidly. The rooms in the middle of these houses were quite dark and bad for the peoples`s health. For those reasons the praise of the "Bremer Haus" must be reviewed critically, because there must be distinguished between the planned and the real use of it.
In spite of that development no real
blocks of flats were built in the time remaining to the first World War,
though the prohibition of building them was abolished by that time. Due to
the traditions in Bremen there was no demand for them. In the time between
first and second World War most of the new built houses were planned for
one family, but mainly the trade unions built big blocks of flats in order
to improve the living conditins of the workers.